UPDATED after 2022 Title Game: No Team has made the Final Four in the Last 11 years with a Defense Ranked Worse than 70th in the Nation

Franisdaman

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This post updated after the 2022 Kansas/North Carolina Championship game.

No Team has made the Final Four in the Last 11 years with a Defense Ranked Worse than 70th in the Nation. This did not bode well for Purdue (#89), Michigan (#78) and Miami (#123) in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

Iowa right now has the #4 offense & the #80 defense in the nation.

The defensive standard for eventual national champions during the last 11 years is even higher; each national champion has finished #22 or better. All but three title-winning teams in the last 11 years finished the season ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency; 2022 national champion Kansas finished # 17. None have been more inefficient than Baylor, which entered the 2021 tournament ranked 35th but finished 22nd, according to Pomeroy.


7 of the remaining 16 teams in 2022 were ranked in the top 22 defensively.

4 of the remaining 16 teams in 2022 were ranked in the top 10 defensively (Gonzaga, Texas Tech, Houston, Iowa State).

In addition, you can learn a lot by looking at the results of the last 14 NCAA Tournaments. From Kansas cutting down the nets in 2008 to Kansas taking the most recent title in 2022, only 5 of 56 teams (8.9 percent) that went into those tourneys ranked outside the top 20 in KenPom advanced to the Final Four.

Also, if a team is rated higher on both offense and defense, then it can expect to beat anyone in any part of the tournament.


2022 Sweet 16 Teams Ranked OVERALL outside the Top 20:

St Peters
Michigan
Providence
Iowa State
Miami FL


Additional info:

KenPom has been around for 20 National Champions. Of the 20 national champions tracked by KenPom:

* The lowest any finished in Offensive Efficiency was 39th (2014 UConn) and the lowest any finished in Defensive Efficiency was 22nd (2021 Baylor). 2022 National Champion Kansas was #6 in Offensive Efficiency and #17 in Defensive Efficiency. Runner up North Carolina was #18 in Offensive Efficiency and #35 in Defensive Efficiency.

* 18 of the 20 national champions in the sample (90%) finished in the top 20 for both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency.


2022 Sweet 16
KemPom Rankings:


WEST REGION
Off.....Def

...1.........9......Gonzaga (#1 team, per KenPom)
53........14.....Arkansas (#18 team, per KenPom)
46.........1......Texas Tech (#6 team, per KenPom)
...4.......43....Duke (#10 team, per KenPom)

EAST REGION
Off.....Def

.20........42.....North Carolina (#20 team, per KenPom)
..12.........13.....UCLA (#8 team, per KenPom)
...2........89.....Purdue (#12 team, per KenPom)
226.......28.....St Peters (#102 team, per KenPom)

SOUTH REGION
Off.....Def

...7.........18.....Arizona (#3 team, per KenPom)
..10........10.....Houston (#2 team, per KenPom)
..19........78.....Michigan (#27 team, per KenPom)
...8........30.....Villanova (#11 team, per KenPom)

MIDWEST REGION
Off.....Def

...6........26....Kansas (#5 team, per KenPom)
..32.......58....Providence (#33 team, per KenPom)
156.........5....Iowa State (#37 team, per KenPom)
..18.......123...Miami FL (#42 team, per KenPom)




Sources:



 
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Bulldogs1974

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So your concern is for Purdue not Iowa. There is a reason for my complaints of Fran, you are not going to win when it matters if you can't play defense. So thanks for pointing that out.
 
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mooresville hawk

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which is why you need a good defense. "Defense Travels": there is a reason for that saying.

First of all, I agree that you need good defense. I am curious as to what you are using to determine good defense though, particularly in the Richmond game. Richmond shot 42.1% (24-57) for the game, 29.4% (5-17) from the three point line and only scored 67 points. They turned the ball over 12 times and Iowa won the rebounding battle 40-36. These defensive numbers should be good enough for Iowa and many other teams to normally win the game. The problem was that Iowa only shot 36.4% (24-66) for the game, 20.7% (6-29) from three.
 

OutbackBowl2017

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I find it funny Iowa’s football offense is considered ugly and ancient while their defense is top ten. Very similar to ISU’s bball offense and defense, with their fans always mocking Iowa’s football offense but loving their bball ugly offense/defense . As with both, defense wins championships while also needing an efficient offense.
 
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red/green hawk

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First of all, I agree that you need good defense. I am curious as to what you are using to determine good defense though, particularly in the Richmond game. Richmond shot 42.1% (24-57) for the game, 29.4% (5-17) from the three point line and only scored 67 points. They turned the ball over 12 times and Iowa won the rebounding battle 40-36. These defensive numbers should be good enough for Iowa and many other teams to normally win the game. The problem was that Iowa only shot 36.4% (24-66) for the game, 20.7% (6-29) from three.
Richmond's D was better? If we are going by shooting percentage to determine defensive efficiencies then you would have to conclude Richmond's D was way better.
 
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mooresville hawk

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I find it funny Iowa’s football offense is considered ugly and ancient while their defense is top ten. Very similar to ISU’s bball offense and defense, with their fans always mocking Iowa’s football offense but loving their bball ugly offense/defense . As with both, defense wins championships while also needing an efficient offense.

I agree, can we combine the football and basketball programs?
 
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mooresville hawk

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Richmond's D was better? If we are going by shooting percentage to determine defensive efficiencies then you would have to conclude Richmond's D was way better.

Either Richmond's defense was better and/or Iowa's offense was worse. Also, shooting percentages were one of the metrics that I utilized, in addition to final score, turnovers and rebounds. What other metrics do you recommend? That was my original question for Bulldog.
 

red/green hawk

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Either Richmond's defense was better and/or Iowa's offense was worse. Also, shooting percentages were one of the metrics that I utilized, in addition to final score, turnovers and rebounds. What other metrics do you recommend? That was my original question for Bulldog.
Well number 1 metric is the score...😁
 
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mooresville hawk

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I gave you a like because my joke was pretty lame.

What amazes me is how the Clowns' O ranks 156th snd their D ranks 6th. Kinda reinforces the need for a good guard (Brockington) and great D to make it in the tourney.

I agree. I do not want to put too much stock into a player who has not even reported to campus yet, but I hope that Bowen can be the catalyst for helping Iowa make the jump to the next level. All indications are that he is the most complete point guard that Fran has been able to recruit to Iowa. I expect that he will back up Joe and Ahron his first year, but we will see.
 

Franisdaman

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There have been a lot of tourney games with bad perimeter shooting. And much, if not most, of that bad shooting wasn't because of up in the grill close outs. There were just a lot of clunkers being thrown up.

IMO, I think the bad shooting is due to:

* playing in hockey arenas with bad back drops. Just wait until the Final 4, when they move to a football stadium.

* playing with a ball they have never played with before (NOTE that even Kenyon said they players did not like the ball).


I think the 2 things above, especially when shots are not dropping, then get into players' heads
 

DodgerHawki

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First of all, I agree that you need good defense. I am curious as to what you are using to determine good defense though, particularly in the Richmond game. Richmond shot 42.1% (24-57) for the game, 29.4% (5-17) from the three point line and only scored 67 points. They turned the ball over 12 times and Iowa won the rebounding battle 40-36. These defensive numbers should be good enough for Iowa and many other teams to normally win the game. The problem was that Iowa only shot 36.4% (24-66) for the game, 20.7% (6-29) from three.
Agree for the most part. Iowa's defense was not great, specifically in certain situations. The easy baskets Richmond got off inbounds plays it could be argued were the difference in the game. Not just jumpers they happened to hit but wide-open layups where there was only a few seconds on the clock. Just killers. But they were playing hard. And Richmond couldn't make 3's either, which kept the game close.

Iowa's offense was just flat-out abysmal. Richmond was not a good defensive team (the advanced metrics showed them to be worse than Iowa and they showed it against Providence). Iowa picked a horrific time to play really, really poorly. Bart Torvik on his site has a concept called Game Score, which assigns a score to a team based on combined efficiencies for that game, weighted against competition. The G-Score of 53 for the Richmond game was the lowest for Iowa since the 59 against Purdue in the game at Iowa, and the only others close to that bad or worse all year were Iowa State (20), Wisconsin, (53) and NC Central (52).

Iowa played very inefficient offense against a mediocre defensive team. I would not have thought that possible, but saw it happen. Everyone on offense was below average/bad other than Keegan and Patrick McC making 3's. Literally everyone else on the roster.
 
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Bulldogs1974

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First of all, I agree that you need good defense. I am curious as to what you are using to determine good defense though, particularly in the Richmond game. Richmond shot 42.1% (24-57) for the game, 29.4% (5-17) from the three point line and only scored 67 points. They turned the ball over 12 times and Iowa won the rebounding battle 40-36. These defensive numbers should be good enough for Iowa and many other teams to normally win the game. The problem was that Iowa only shot 36.4% (24-66) for the game, 20.7% (6-29) from three.
Good defense would be measured in a season and career. You may look at this game in isolation and conclude that Iowa did play good defense but that would not be looking at the big picture. For the season Richmond was a 53% from 2 and 35% from three team, so yes we held them below season averages. However we are a power 6 team and they are the a10, so we probably should.
Good defense would be:
-being able to stay in front of a defender. This is an attitude as much as it is about being athletic.
-rebounding
- not giving up the baseline, I know it's Fran's philosophy but it's not a good one.
-good defensive rotations/help
-understanding the scouting report/communicate on the court.
-doubling quick when assigned
-not giving up transition points/getting back.
-Hustle
-tipped passes
Accountability to these things are managed by the coach, no one else. A coach holds them accountable with playing time. I think Fran Does this on offense when it should be done far more often on defense. St. Peter's and ISU made the sweet sixteen because of tough hard nosed defense. Now you can debate whether or not their defense's are all legal but that doesn't matter when it doesn't get called, a coach must adapt to that.

ISU and St. Peter's had the 226th and 156th rated offenses, you don't see anyone near those number on defense.
Fran is 34-55 in games decided by 5 points in his time at Iowa. I'm sure you can read many things into that but to me that number looks different for a defensive minded coach. I could be wrong.
 

mooresville hawk

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Good defense would be measured in a season and career. You may look at this game in isolation and conclude that Iowa did play good defense but that would not be looking at the big picture. For the season Richmond was a 53% from 2 and 35% from three team, so yes we held them below season averages. However we are a power 6 team and they are the a10, so we probably should.
Good defense would be:
-being able to stay in front of a defender. This is an attitude as much as it is about being athletic.
-rebounding
- not giving up the baseline, I know it's Fran's philosophy but it's not a good one.
-good defensive rotations/help
-understanding the scouting report/communicate on the court.
-doubling quick when assigned
-not giving up transition points/getting back.
-Hustle
-tipped passes
Accountability to these things are managed by the coach, no one else. A coach holds them accountable with playing time. I think Fran Does this on offense when it should be done far more often on defense. St. Peter's and ISU made the sweet sixteen because of tough hard nosed defense. Now you can debate whether or not their defense's are all legal but that doesn't matter when it doesn't get called, a coach must adapt to that.

ISU and St. Peter's had the 226th and 156th rated offenses, you don't see anyone near those number on defense.
Fran is 34-55 in games decided by 5 points in his time at Iowa. I'm sure you can read many things into that but to me that number looks different for a defensive minded coach. I could be wrong.

I am not going to argue that Iowa is a good defensive team, though they did have games where they played better than others this year and improved over last year. My previous response was about the Richmond game in particular. While Iowa did give up some back door layups and got lost on some inbounds plays, Iowa primarily lost due to a poor offensive performance.

I agree that different things can be read into Iowa’s performance under Fran in close games. Iowa has not had a player to consistently make the late shots to win games under Fran, outside of Jordan over the last few years. On the flip side, Iowa has not had the defense to keep the other team from making shots late in those close games as well.

Fran tried to go with the hot hand and even rotate offense for defense late in games this year. Unfortunately, Iowa did not do well on either end of the floor late in the game against Richmond. Some of this may have been due to Keegan’s injured ankle, but someone else needed to step up and make a play on either end of the floor.
 

HawkRose

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First of all, I agree that you need good defense. I am curious as to what you are using to determine good defense though, particularly in the Richmond game. Richmond shot 42.1% (24-57) for the game, 29.4% (5-17) from the three point line and only scored 67 points. They turned the ball over 12 times and Iowa won the rebounding battle 40-36. These defensive numbers should be good enough for Iowa and many other teams to normally win the game. The problem was that Iowa only shot 36.4% (24-66) for the game, 20.7% (6-29) from three.
Watch Houston, they score off their defense, and rebound with tenacity. Not a great shooting team but really hard to beat.
 
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HawkLogic

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Strangely enough, it was the offense that let iowa down this year in the tourney. Most of upsets that occurred this year were for the same reason….terrible 3 point shooting.

And yet ISU made the sweet16 shooting 34% overall and 21% from 3pt line vs Wisconsin.

You need the defense for the games when you are not shooting well, but you still win becauuse you make your opponent shoot worse.
 
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And yet ISU made the sweet16 shooting 34% overall and 21% from 3pt line vs Wisconsin.

You need the defense for the games when you are not shooting well, but you still win becauuse you make your opponent shoot worse.
“Make”

Wisconsin missed A ton of open shots. I guess we see what we want to see eh,
Illogical?
 
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Franisdaman

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Definitely.


Purdue's poor defense probably keeps them out of the Final 4.

Here's some other tidbits from the Sporting News:

You can learn a lot by looking at the results of the last 13 NCAA Tournaments. From Kansas cutting down the nets in 2008 to Baylor taking the most recent title, only five of 52 teams (9.6 percent) that went into those tourneys ranked outside the top 20 in KenPom advanced to the Final Four. Along with Baylor (No. 2 in KenPom), the 2021 Final Four also featured runner-up Gonzaga (No. 1 in KenPom), Houston (No. 5 in KenPom) and UCLA (No. 13 in KenPom).

If a team is rated higher on both offense and defense, then it can expect to beat anyone in any part of the tournament.


Link to that story: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nca...-2022-bracket-kenpom/n3rlc4wsib756fol0dlxpq8e

Sweet 16 Teams ranked OVERALL outside the Top 20:
St Peters
Michigan
Providence
Iowa State
Miami FL


So, based on these analytics, I think the Final 4 will be Gonzaga, UCLA, Houston (slight edge over Arizona), and Kansas.


WEST REGION
Off.....Def

...1.........9......Gonzaga (#1 team, per KenPom)
53........14.....Arkansas (#18 team, per KenPom)
46.........1......Texas Tech (#6 team, per KenPom)
...4.......43....Duke (#10 team, per KenPom)

EAST REGION
Off.....Def

.20........42.....North Carolina (#20 team, per KenPom)
..12.........13.....UCLA (#8 team, per KenPom)
...2........89.....Purdue (#12 team, per KenPom)
226.......28.....St Peters (#102 team, per KenPom)

SOUTH REGION
Off.....Def

...7.........18.....Arizona (#3 team, per KenPom)
..10........10.....Houston (#2 team, per KenPom)
..19........78.....Michigan (#27 team, per KenPom)
...8........30.....Villanova (#11 team, per KenPom)

MIDWEST REGION
Off.....Def

...6........26....Kansas (#5 team, per KenPom)
..32.......58....Providence (#33 team, per KenPom)
156.........5....Iowa State (#37 team, per KenPom)
..18.......123...Miami FL (#42 team, per KenPom)
 
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Franisdaman

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Now do offense.

No team has made the F4 in the last decade with an O rating of X or less.


We are down to 8 teams. Based on what follows, only Houston meets the criteria.

KenPom has been around for 19 National Champions. Of the 19 national champions tracked by KenPom:

* The lowest any finished in Offensive Efficiency was 39th (2014 UConn) and the lowest any finished in Defensive Efficiency was 22nd (2021 Baylor).

* 17 of the 19 national champions in the sample (89.4%) finished in the top 20 for both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency.


WEST REGIONAL FINAL (SATURDAY)
Off.....Def

53........14.....Arkansas (#18 team, per KenPom)
...4.......43....Duke (#10 team, per KenPom)


EAST REGIONAL FINAL (SUNDAY)
Off.....Def

.20........42.....North Carolina (#20 team, per KenPom)
226.......28.....St Peters (#102 team, per KenPom)


SOUTH REGIONAL FINAL (SATURDAY)
Off.....Def

..10........10.....Houston (#2 team, per KenPom)
...8........30.....Villanova (#11 team, per KenPom)


MIDWEST REGIONAL FINAL (SUNDAY)
Off.....Def

...6........26....Kansas (#5 team, per KenPom)
..18.......123...Miami FL (#42 team, per KenPom)





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